10 Remarkable Facts about Chester, UK

Chester is a city with quite a fascinating history. With so much culture and entertainment to be enjoyed, combined with a top class university and excellent job prospects, this city has plenty to offer students, young professionals and tourists alike. But just how much do you know about this noteworthy, ancient city?


Chester city walls in the UK

1. The Famous Walled City

Chester is home to the best surviving Roman Fortress Wall in Northern Europe (near Northgate). Dating back to Roman times, it was founded as a fort in 79 AD, and apart from a small 100-metre section, the listed Grade I walls are all still standing today.


Chester’s Rows Tudor style buildings in the UK

2. Chester’s Rows

The city is famous for its covered walkways at the first floor in each of the city’s four main streets, which allow for double level shopping. This rare architectural feature dates back to at least the 13th Century and is unique not only in Britain, but around the world.


Chester zoo tiger in the UK

3. Award-Winning Zoo

Chester zoo is the most visited wildlife attraction in the UK, with 1.9 million visiting every year. With 15,000 animals over 125 acres of award-winning zoological gardens, TripAdvisor named Chester Zoo the 7th best zoo in the entire world in 2015.


Daniel Craig From Chester, UK, as 007 James Bond

4. Birthplace of James Bond!

Well, ok not actually 007 himself, but the actor who currently plays Britain’s most famous MI5 agent, Daniel Craig, was born in Chester in 1968.


Footballer Michael Owen from Chester, UK

5. Top Sports Stars

Chester has also produced some of the UK’s best sportspeople, including professional snooker player Ricky Walden, Olympic medal-winning gymnast Beth Tweddle and top footballers Michael Owen, Danny Murphy and Tom Heaton.


Chester Racecourse, The UK's oldest racecourse

6. Oldest Racecourse in Britain

Chester Racecourse, also known as the Roodee, has hosted horse racing events since 1539, making it not only the oldest racecourse in the country, but Britain’s oldest sporting venue in continual use!


UK University of Chester students graduate

7. Best Performing University in the North West of England for Employability

The University of Chester is such a successful university that 95.2% of its graduates go on to work or further study within six months of graduating. And with 2000 members of staff and a large number of its students staying in Chester to take up employment, the University contributes approximately £135 million to the local economy in financial terms alone. It was also awarded a Silver rating in the recent Teaching Excellence Framework ratings.


The 5th Prettiest City in Europe is Chester in the UK

8. 5th Prettiest City in Europe!

In a 2013 poll by USA Today poll Chester was named the fifth prettiest city in Europe, beating picturesque tourist hotspots such as Prague, Budapest, Santorini, Venice and Bruges!


UK's Chester Renaissance Investment

9. The Chester Renaissance

Over the past 10 years, Chester has seen a whopping £1.3billion of investment, designed to help the city become a “must see European destination”. This massive, exciting project has been nicknamed ‘Chester Renaissance’ and includes the Northgate Development, Delamere Street development and the £60million HQ development.


City Place, a new regeneration investment plan in Chester, UK

10. City Place

A new £120m regeneration of Chester’s central business district is planned to be completed by 2028. City Place will provide in excess of 500,000 sq. ft. of quality office accommodation, retail and leisure facilities, and includes 200 new residential units. This project is expected to create around 3,500 jobs.

Chester’s deep-rooted heritage, culture and strong economy make it an incredible place to live, work, visit or study in, and that in turn makes the city a top choice for property investors looking for the next ‘big’ city to invest in.


If you found this interesting, you might also find Why Invest in Chester and A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Chester useful.

Looking at investing in Chester already? Here are the properties we currently have available.

The UK’s Best vs. Worst Postcodes for Buy-to-Let Investing

In order to gain an edge in the investment market, it pays to take notice of which postcodes offer the best yields, and which ones produce the worst. We have analysed the recent data from TotallyMoney.com, comparing the top rated areas across the UK with the worst performers to show you where you should consider investing your hard earned money.


UK Hotspots vs. Coldspots

Northern cities dominated the Top 10 best postcodes for potential buy-to-let yields. With five entries in the Top 10 – including taking spots one to four! – Liverpool is clearly the top city in the UK for buy-to-let yields. Whereas the places with the lowest yields were generally expensive areas in the south, most notably London. Poole, on the south coast, sits at the bottom of the table with just 1.40% average yields for buy-to-let properties.


UK Top 10 Buy-to-Let Property Hotspots V.S Coldspots

UK Top 10 Buy to let hotspots vs coldspots table, June 201, by Aspen Woolf

When looking at the two sets of figures side by side, the contrast is stark. Liverpool’s L7 postcode towers over the bottom ten, bringing in a yield nearly 12x higher than Poole’s BH14. But even comparing the lowest of the top 10 with the highest of the bottom 10, there’s still a difference of nearly 8%, with Sheffield’s S2 postcode averaging yields of 9.73% compared to the average of just 2.05% found in London’s W11.


UK Top 10 Buy-to-Let Property Hotspots V.S Coldspots

UK Top 10 Buy-to-Let Property Hotspots V.S Coldspots graph, June 2017, by Aspen Woolf

These figures show just how important it is to consider investing outside the capital, and in particular to look to the North of England for the best returns. It also specifically demonstrates the difference between London and one of the UK’s biggest northern cities: Liverpool.


London vs. Liverpool

London has long been thought of as a beacon for finance, and particularly for property investment. But with prices soaring in recent years, the UK’s capital city has become a less economic choice for investors. Indeed five of the worst performing postcodes in this research are in London. Conversely, Liverpool has been surging in popularity with those looking for buy-to-let property. This is thanks to a combination of house prices that are lower than the national average, many large-scale regeneration projects bringing in massive investment, and the booming reputation of Northern Powerhouse cities.


UK City Comparison: Top 10 Hotspots – London V.S. Liverpool

UK City Comparison: Top 10 Hotspots - London V.S. Liverpool table, June 2017, by Aspen Woolf

When lining up the two cities side by side, the difference is truly staggering. London’s best performing postcode, E13, is well behind Liverpool’s top placed area, L7, with a whopping 11.08% between them. And even when you compare E13 to Liverpool’s 10th best postcode, L33, there’s still 1.44% extra to be made in the Northern city.


UK City Comparison: Top 10 Hotspots – London V.S. Liverpool

UK City Comparison: Top 10 Hotspots - London V.S. Liverpool graph, June 2017, by Aspen Woolf

In this tale of two cities, Liverpool is the clear winner. When you can make more than 3x the yield in Liverpool than can be achieved in London’s best postcode, the choice of which city to invest in becomes a pretty easy one.


If you want more information on where is best to invest, take a look at The UK’s Top Buy-To-Let Hotspots in 2017 Revealed! and The UK’s 5 Best Student Towns to Invest In.

And if you’re ready to begin your investment journey, have a look at the properties we currently have available and get in touch!

Why Invest in Chester

Dating back to 1st century A.D, Chester is an historic walled city in the northwest of England that was founded as a Roman fortress. Situated close to Liverpool, Manchester and the Welsh border, this ancient city has excellent transport links, an interesting mix of heritage and culture, and plenty of opportunities to attract workers, students and investors. Here’s why we think you should consider investing in Chester.


Economy and Growth

Economy and Growth

Chester sits in the county of Cheshire, which contributes £20billion a year to the UK’s GVA. Employing over 27,000 people, the city itself adds £1.8 billion to the Cheshire and Warrington economy annually.

Finance is a big industry in the city, with the Bank of America, HBOS plc, M&S Bank and Virgin Money all having large offices based here. Tourism is the other big earner, with Chester Zoo alone boosting the region’s economy by £50million!

In a plan to build off this, in 2007 Chester Council declared their intention to become a “must see European destination”, with a 10-year, £1.3 billion plan known as the Chester Renaissance. Specific projects included the Delamere Street development, the £60million HQ development and the £300 million Chester Northgate development.

Chester has also launched the Chester Growth Partnership, a 15-year strategy that will, with the help of key partners, deliver a programme of further regeneration and improvements to the city as part of the One City Plan.


Popular with Tourists

Popular with Tourists

With so much history and culture on offer, Chester is naturally a big draw for tourists. Its heritage is on display for all to see, with most of the Grade I listed wall still intact and an array of historical architecture, such as the half-timbered buildings that look like they’re straight out of a Grimm Fairy Tale! It won’t come as much of a surprise that in 2013 the city was voted the prettiest in the UK, and placed in the top five cities in Europe.

Another big attraction is Chester Zoo, which is the largest in the UK. With over 11,000 animals, set in 110 acres of award-winning gardens, you can certainly while away a few hours. Follow up your animal adventure with a trip to Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, the only professional open-air theatre company currently operating outside London.

Shopping is also a popular pastime in Chester. The Grosvenor Shopping Centre is a popular destination, soon to be joined by the £300 million Chester Northgate development. This major new complex will have 500,000 sq. ft. of new retail, restaurant and leisure facilities.

And with a good choice of cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs, there’s plenty to keep the 31+ million visitors to the region entertained.



Great for Students

The University of Chester is a well-regarded institution that dates back 176 years. It welcomes nearly 20,000 young people every year, studying a range of subjects from business to science to media. It boasts an impressive rate of 95.2% of students going into work or further study within 6 months of graduating.

The university also plays a big part in the local community and economy. Recent massive expansion has led to regeneration of several buildings in and around the city, repurposing them for educational use. For example, the Shell Technology Centre, which the university took over in 2013 and converted into the Thornton Science Park. This allowed the university to offer a range of new engineering-related degree programmes, significantly upping their national profile and reputation.

Whilst the academic profile is enough of a draw alone, the cultural experiences and nightlife help to make Chester such a popular place to study.



Strong Transport Links

Tucked beneath Liverpool, next to the Welsh border, with Manchester just over an hour away, Chester is well-placed to be accessed by both road and train.

Major roads, the A55 and A483, takes drivers down into North and South Wales, the M53 links the city to Liverpool, while the M56 connects Chester with both Manchester and the M6, which heads south towards Birmingham and the Midlands.

The city’s main railway station, Chester General, welcomes trains across the city, including London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Crewe, and (from December 2017) Leeds and Bradford.

And then, there’s the canal. Part of the Shropshire Canal Network, the canal’s two branches – which run under the northern part of the city’s border wall – have played a key role in trade and transport in Chester for centuries.

The city also benefits from a local bus and tram network, and is a relatively short distance from both Manchester Airport and Liverpool John Lennon Airport – handy for those looking to travel further afield!



Buoyant Housing Market

The city certainly has character and a rich visual look thanks to the vast variety of historic architecture, from medieval to Tudor and Victorian. And with a strong economy and wave of investment since the 2008 recession, the property market is flourishing.

Indeed, Chester has had one of the fastest growing housing markets in recent years – in 2015 demand for housing rose by 164%! This naturally helped prices rise in that time. Average prices in the city currently sit at £224,568, which is just a little below the average for England (£232,530).

And with a crackdown on HMOs in the city, there is an increasing need for new purpose built student accommodation to house Chester’s large cohort of students. This provides investors with an ideal opportunity to enter one of the best and strongest markets in the UK.


If you want to read more about investing in Chester and student property, take a look at A Guide to Investing in Student Property in Chester and Student Properties Are a Safe Bet For 2017.

Think an investment property in Chester might be right for you? Here are the properties we currently have available.

The 5 Top Zones Surrounding Liverpool’s Eldon Grove

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. The same can be said of the neighbourhoods within a region. And in the case for our historic Eldon Grove development in Liverpool, five zones surrounding the iconic building display the impressive scale of regeneration the city is undergoing.


Liverpool Waters

1. Liverpool Waters

Much of Liverpool’s docklands has lain derelict in recent years. But in a bid to turn this historic part of the city into a vibrant waterfront quarter, the Peel Group has planned a massive £5.5bn regeneration of the area. The new development will be laid over four sectors and will include 21m sq. ft of new commercial and residential units, making up four hotels and 23,000 apartments. Premier League team Everton FC are also hoping to build their new multi-million pound stadium in Bramley Dock, within sector A of the project. There is also talk of a monorail linking the area to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.

An enterprise zone has been created combining the Liverpool Waters and its sister project Wirral Waters. This large-scale project is sure to boost the local economy, with at least 17,000 full-time jobs being created from it.


The Commercial District in Liverpool

2. The Commercial District

Liverpool is a thriving creative city. It has a long history of hard-working industries and innovation. So it’s no surprise that today the city’s Commercial District is one of the strongest parts of the city. The financial heart of the city, the area is based around Old Hall Street and is home to a 60,000+ workforce drawn from the likes of the booming digital, leisure and legal sectors.

In the last 10 years or so there has been a myriad of building and redevelopment projects. The Commercial District is home to some of Liverpool’s most notable office buildings, including Liverpool’s tallest building, the West Tower, and New Hall Place, the city’s largest office building.

And in February 2016, Commercial District BID announced a 5 year plan to build on the success of the district, following a record breaking year for construction and office letting, with a £4million programme that includes projects such as a Superfast Broadband and free Wi-Fi scheme that would dramatically improve connectivity within the city.


Liverpool ONE shopping complex in Liverpool

3. Liverpool ONE

The large shopping, residential and leisure complex known as Liverpool ONE turned 42 acres of underutilised land in the city centre into one the UK’s largest and most successful open air shopping centres.

Following £920million of investment, the massive complex was built, featuring 1.6 million sq. ft of retail space, restaurants, cafes and bars, a 14-screen multiplex cinema, a five-acre park, 600 new apartments, two hotels, offices and a transport interchange. The unique project was designed by more than 20 architects, giving each of its different sectors an individual look. In fact, the masterplan was so well received, it was nominated for the RIBA Stirling prize – the first time a masterplan (rather than a particular building) has received such an honour.

Since opening in 2008, it has helped Liverpool become one of the top 5 retail destinations in the UK. This in turn has provided a significant boost to tourism and the local economy.


The Knowledge Quarter

4. The Knowledge Quarter

Stretching from Upper Parliament Street in the south to Islington in the north, and from Grove Street and Low Hill in to the east to Renshaw Street in the west, the Knowledge Quarter is one the greatest contributors to Liverpool’s economy. This area of the city alone produces £1 billion in income per year – that’s 15% of the entire city’s GVA!

The institutions in this area provide full-time jobs for 14,000 and education for 60,000 individuals. Most notable amongst them are:

  • Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA)
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • The University of Liverpool
  • Liverpool Women’s Hospital
  • Royal Liverpool University Hospital
  • Liverpool Science Park
  • The National Oceanography Centre
  • Liverpool Cathedral
  • Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
  • The Philharmonic Hall
  • The World Museum

In a bid to cement its Knowledge Quarter as one of the most successful in the UK, Liverpool has encouraged a lot of regeneration in the area over the last decade, including the £451 million renovation of Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the £1billion Paddington Village extension.


Project Jennifer in Liverpool

5. Project Jennifer

Great Homer Street, in the Everton area of the city, is currently undergoing a £150 million regeneration scheme, known as Project Jennifer.
Along with a new 80,000 sq. ft District Centre, the development is designed to improve local roads, walkways and public spaces, and provide a number of new shops and homes. It will also house the famous ‘Greatie’ Market.

Named after the niece of the Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, Tom Williams, the venture aims to breathe new life into this prominent North Liverpool suburb. It is estimated that the project could bring up to 1000 new jobs to the local area, as well as enhancing the sense of community for residents.

With so much investment and innovation going on in this part of Liverpool, the city can expect to see a substantial rise in both economic and population growth, as well as a strengthening of its reputation as city of culture and potential.


If you want to learn more about the Eldon Grove development, and the regeneration occurring locally, read Eldon Grove – a Liverpool Treasure Comes Back to Life and New Everton Stadium Part of Liverpool Docklands Regeneration.

And if you’re interested in investing in Eldon Grove, you can find more information here.

7 Fascinating Facts About Luton

Luton has been hailed a property hotspot thanks to its status a key commuter town for those who work in London. With comparatively low house prices and close proximity to the capital, this bustling town in the county of Bedfordshire has a lot to offer. But just how much do you know about Luton?


Luton International Carnival

1. Dancing in the Street

Luton hosts the UK’s biggest one-day carnival, the Luton International Carnival. This colourful, cultural event features a wide variety of music, performance artists, and dancers that come together in a large Brazilian-style procession. It is traditionally held on the late May bank holiday.


Hat Makers in Luton

2. Top Hats!

Dating back to the 1700’s, hat-making was one of Luton’s biggest industries. Even the local football team, Luton Town FC, are nicknamed ‘The Hatters’! Although millinery isn’t the high profile trade it once was, there are still several small-scale businesses in the town still producing high quality hats.


Ancient ruins on a hill

3. Ancient Roots

The earliest evidence of settlements in the Luton area are Palaeolithic encampments at Round Green and Mixes Hill that date back around 250,000 years!


Luton London airport

4. Home to One of London’s Main Airports

London Luton Airport is the fifth busiest in the UK and the fourth biggest of London’s six airports. One of the main employers in the town, the airport dates back to 1938 and was used by the RAF in WWII. They handle over 14,500,000 passengers a year and fly to 60 destinations across Europe, Northern Africa and Asia.


Lorraine Chase Campari Advert

5. And Famous for it!

Yes, in the 1970s Campari ran an advert featuring the glamourous Lorraine Chase in which her response to the question “Were you truly wafted here from paradise?” was “Nah, Luton Airport.” This immortalized the town, with the quote becoming a notable pop culture reference.


coins and a calculator

6. Profitable Property

According to data from LendInvest, Luton is one of the UK’s most profitable areas to be a landlord. With high rental yields of up to 6% and house prices rising 18.5% in 2015, the potential ROI for investors is certainly impressive. And thanks to an ever-growing population, demand has pushed average rents up by 10.4% since 2014 – the biggest in the UK!


Monty Panasar Wisen Cricket Player from Luton

7. The Full Monty

Former Wisden Cricketer of the Year and two-time Ashes winner Monty Panasar is from Luton!

Modern Luton is fast becoming the first choice area for creative young professionals who commute to London for work, but want a place to live that reflects their culture and lifestyle. With the ongoing investment in the town, including projects such as Luton’s Cultural Quarter, it’s becoming an increasingly attractive prospect for investors too.


Read more about what makes Luton a great place to invest in Why Invest in Luton.
And if you’re ready to start your investment journey, take a look at the properties we currently have in Luton.

Six Surprising Things That Affect Property Prices

It’s a well-known mantra of those looking to purchase property: Location, location, location. Looking at the local area around the property you are planning to buy is an important consideration for getting the best from your budget and maximising your capital growth. And whilst most people are aware of the impact from key infrastructure such as transport links and reputable schools on a property’s price, there are a few other things that can affect property values that are a little more unusual.


Green and Pleasant Land

1. Green and Pleasant Land

A study by HouseSimple found that property close to a park garnered a price 19% higher than other properties in their area. Being closer to green spaces and nature has been shown to make you feel happier and be better for your health. So it’s hardly a surprise that having a public park nearby features high up on buyer’s wishlists – particularly in urban areas where you’re less likely to have a garden.


Farmer's Market

2. To Market, to Market

Market towns are increasingly popular. According to research that Lloyds conducted in 2015, properties in market towns were generally worth £25,000 more than similar homes in the same area that weren’t in a market town. And then there are farmers markets. This upmarket amenity has proven to be a boost to house prices for property within close proximity too. Zoopla found that having a farmers market nearby adds on average 26% to property values.


Tomb Stone

3. Tomb with a View

Many people can find living close to a cemetery unsettling, particularly if it is easily viewable from your home. This can have a negative impact on house sales in the immediate proximity of the graveyard. Research conducted by HouseSimple.com found a 23% difference in value between houses on the same street as a cemetery and those elsewhere within the postcode area throughout the country.

What’s particularly surprising is that it actually doesn’t have a negative effect on property values everywhere in the UK – houses on roads next to cemeteries in Bolton, Leeds, Sheffield and Southampton actually had higher property prices than the average for their local postcodes! Perhaps Boltonian’s have a preference for extra quiet neighbours?!


House numbers - 13

4. Unlucky for Some

House numbers can have a surprisingly noticeable effect on house prices. According to Zoopla, odd-numbered houses earn on average £538 more than even-numbered properties. The most notable exemption to this rule is, of course, the number 13. Some street and blocks of flats leave out the inauspicious number altogether. But for those that do exist, their owners can lose as much as £6,500 when selling their property. That’s enough to give anyone triskaidekaphobia (a fear of the number 13)!


Breakfast Food

5. Local Tastes

A pub might not seem like the kind of establishment to have a positive impact on property values, but according to research from Tepilo having a good, well-regarded local was an important factor for 23% of potential buyers. Similarly, people are willing to pay big bucks to live near the best restaurants. 2012 research from PrimeLocation.com found that properties close to a Michelin-starred restaurant were worth as much as 50% more than the regional average!


House on the Hill with Sold Sign

6. House on the Hill

Even the physical layout of the local area can have an impact on property values. Research by Wetherell estate agents suggests that a house (in Central London) on a crescent typically earned a premium of 40%. And the views provided from living on a hill also adds value. Meanwhile Zoopla found that properties with ‘hill’ addresses had average property values that were more than double homes on a standard ‘street’.

Even more niche factors can have an effect too, such as having fishing rights on a riverside property’s land, or having a blue plaque commemorating a famous former resident. Taking these things into consideration can prove to be a very effective strategy in maximising the potential of your property investment.

If you want to learn more about key things that can affect property prices, read our articles Is the Westfield Effect the New Waitrose Effect? and How Transport Can Affect Property Markets.

New Everton Stadium Part of Liverpool Docklands Regeneration

With two Premier League teams currently residing in the city, it could be said that Liverpool has football running through its veins. Indeed the local rivalry, known as the Merseyside derby, is one of the biggest features in the English footballing calendar.


Everton FC logo

New £300 Million Everton Stadium

And now one team, Everton FC, are due to get a brand new £300million stadium on their preferred site in the Bramley Moore Dock area of Vauxhall in Liverpool, right on the river Mersey itself.

Peel Holdings, the developer currently regenerating much of the dockland locale into the impressive £5billion Liverpool Waters project, have reportedly agreed terms with the club to acquire land for the build. And with the backing of Liverpool mayor, Joe Anderson, and the city council – who will act as a guarantor to help the club secure funding – a planning application could be submitted by the end of year.

Roma football club stadium

Stadio Della Roma by MEIS

The new 50,000 seater stadium will feature a unique look designed by top firm MEIS Architects, who recently got the go-ahead for their design of Roma football club’s new stadium. It is a big step forward in the development of the club as Everton seeks to join the echelon of Europe’s most elite football clubs – something both the board and the supporters have long dreamt of.

Between the new stadium, the rejuvenation of the Iconic Eldon Grove buildings, and the ‘Ten Streets’ project – which aims to turn the cluster of roads off Great Howard Street into a new creative hub – the council is hoping this level of mass regeneration could be transformative for the North Liverpool area.


2022 Commonwealth Games in Liverpool

2022 Commonwealth Games

And with this news also comes the possibility of Liverpool staging the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Durban in South Africa was due to hold the Games, but following financial constraints the city was unable to meet criteria set by the Commonwealth Games Federation in order to host the event. Having such a prestigious international sporting spectacle can provide a massive economic boost to the host city, thanks to both increased tourism and infrastructure investment.

Liverpool, who have previously stated their intention to bid to host the Games in 2026, have stepped up and offered to take them on four years earlier. Despite the shorter notice, mayor Joe Anderson is confident of his city’s ability to put on a good show. And Everton’s new stadium is expected to play a key role in Liverpool’s 2022 bid.


Gold Coast Property Growth in Australia

Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia

Significant Property Investment Benefits

This is an incredibly promising prospect, not just for the city itself, but also for property investors in Liverpool. You only have to look at the effect holding the Commonwealth Games is already having on Gold Coast, Australia (the host city of the upcoming 2018 Games), to see the significant benefits it’s having on property already. This year, A PRD Nationwide Report (part of Colliers International) found that between 2015 and 2016, both houses and units in the Gold Coast region recorded an increase in their average prices of 6.3% and 5.3% respectively!

Similar capital growth could be expected in Liverpool should the city secure the 2022 hosting duties. It is certainly an exciting time for local sports fans, and especially investors looking for that next sweet spot.


Still need a few more reasons why we think Liverpool is great place to invest, take a look at our article, Three Reasons Why North Liverpool is a Great Place to Invest.

If you’re already considering making an investment, then why not take a look at what we have on offer in Liverpool.

10 Fascinating Facts About Historical Plymouth, UK

Known as Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth has a truly noteworthy heritage. But how much do you know about this port city and the important part it has played in both British and World history? Here are our top nine fascinating facts about the UK’s seaside city of Plymouth:


boats sailing in the Plymouth Sunset

1. The Pilgrim Fathers Left From Plymouth

Back in 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth docks, headed for the New World. Those aboard the ship went on to establish the second English colony in what later became the United States of America.


Smeaton's Tower lighthouse in Plymouth, UK

2. The Smeaton Tower was a Breakthrough in Lighthouse Design

The Eddystone Lighthouses have sat off the coastline of Plymouth for centuries, but it was Smeaton’s Tower, the third and most notable of the lighthouses, that has proven the most significant. Celebrated civil engineer John Smeaton created the tower, based on the shape of an oak tree, and it went on to inform lighthouse design for years to come. It now sits on Plymouth Hoe as a memorial to its designer.


Plymouth Gin Distillery in Plymouth, UK

3. The Plymouth Gin Distillery is Oldest in England

Formally home to a monastery, the Plymouth Gin Distillery opened in 1793. Also known as the Black Friars distillery, it is the oldest working gin distillery in England. Gin enthusiasts can take a tour of the distillery to see the traditional equipment used, before tasting the distinctive Plymouth Gin itself, which is still made on site today.


Porcelain made in Plymouth, UK

4. Britain’s Porcelain Industry Began in Plymouth

Local pharmacist, William Cookworthy, became the first person in Britain to work out how to make hard porcelain having found china clay in Cornwall. Porcelain had previously been imported from China. But Cookworthy founded a works in Plymouth for the production of ‘Plymouth Porcelain’ in 1768, kick-starting the industry in this country.


New Palace Theatre in Plymouth, UK

5. The New Palace Theatre Hosted World-Famous Acts

Although it is now closed and in disrepair, the historic New Palace Theatre has quite the prestigious past. Over the years it saw acts such as Laurel and Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin, perform on stage. Quite the coup for a city outside the likes of London and Manchester!


Plymouth Devonport naval base

6. A Port of Great Importance in Wartime

Plymouth was an important strategic city during both world wars. The port was an entry point for troops from across the Empire during WW1. And in the Second World War, Devonport naval base was the headquarters of Western Approaches Command until 1941, as well as being an important embarkation point for US troops for D-Day. Due to Plymouth’s status as a major port, it became a target during the Blitz. The city’s partially destroyed Charles Church stands as an official, permanent monument to the bombing the city suffered in the war.


Plymouth Synagogue, the oldest in the English-Speaking World

7. Home to the Oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue in the English-Speaking World

A Grade II listed building, the Plymouth Synagogue was built in 1762 by the local Jewish community, who until then had met in private homes or rented rooms to worship.


Pelé scoring a goal in Plymouth, UK

8. The Day Pelé Came to Plymouth!

In 1973 the city’s local football team, Plymouth Argyle, hosted a friendly match against Brazilian side Santos FC, one of the best clubs in the world at the time. Their line-up featured world-renowned player, Pelé. And despite the superstar scoring a penalty, shockingly it was Plymouth Argyle who won!


Sir Francis Drake of Plymouth, UK

9. Sir Francis Drake Was Born in Plymouth

The famous sea-farer captained many notable voyages. From 1577 to 1580, he led the second circumnavigation of the world, becoming the first person to solely captain the entire expedition. Then in 1588, Drake was second-in-command of the English fleet as they fought against the Spanish Armada. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1581.


Plymouth University

10. Even the University has a Sea-Faring History

Plymouth University was originally the Plymouth School of Navigation, which opened in 1862. In 2012 staff, students and local residents celebrated the institutions 150th anniversary. The university is now ranked amongst the top 2% in the world.

But it’s not just the past that is so important to Plymouth, thanks to a great deal of investment currently pouring into the city. With the scheme ‘A Vision for Plymouth’ well under way; the city is seeing the regeneration of derelict buildings as well as newly designed public spaces for local people to enjoy. This in turn has helped encourage a blossoming economy, attracting a growing population of young professionals and students. So it’s fair to say the future looks bright for Plymouth too!


Want to know more about what makes Plymouth a great place to invest? Read our article, Why Invest in Plymouth.

If you are considering an investment in Plymouth, take a look at the properties we currently have available.

The Property Wire Awards: Aspen Woolf Nominated for Three Awards

We recently received some exciting news: Aspen Woolf is up for three awards in the inaugural Property Wire Awards!

These awards are designed to recognise those companies working hard in an industry undergoing a lot of change. As Property Wire editor, Ray Clancy, says:

“It is a chance for individuals and businesses to shine, to show off what they are doing but also to get acknowledgement for their achievements in an industry that takes knocks but also gets right back up again and pushes the boundaries even further.”

The Property Wire Awards: Aspen Woolf Nominated

Aspen Woolf have been nominated in the following categories in 2017:

  • BEST Property Investment Adviser
  • BEST Residential Investment Provider
  • BEST Student Property Investment Provider

We are incredibly proud and grateful to have been considered for this, as we believe it demonstrates our ability to find the best developments for investors and our commitment to providing the best service to our clients.

And if you agree, you can help us win! All you have to do is click here and vote for us in each of the categories listed above. Voting closes Friday 10th March, so head over now to get your vote in! The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on the 24th March 2017.

We can’t wait to hear if we won, but even to be in the running is an incredible honour. We’re sure 2017 will be a year full of positive surprises!

Why Invest in Plymouth

One of the UK’s favourite coastal cities, Plymouth is abundant with culture, historical significance and beautiful, natural surroundings. Set in the picturesque county of Devon, it is becoming an increasingly popular place to live, study and work. This in turn makes the port city an attractive prospect to property investors. But what is it exactly that we think makes Plymouth so eye-catching?


Tourism (Sea boat, lighthouse, and camera)


With a rich maritime history behind it and the ocean stretching out in front of it, there’s lots to see and do in Plymouth. Visit the Mayflower Steps and relive the moment a ship left the port, setting sail to ‘the new world’ – America. Walk a-ways along the seafront and you’ll come to the Smeaton Tower, the Eddystone lighthouse that became a model in design for all the lighthouses that followed. On cooler days, visitors can head to the myriad of museums, shops, cafes, restaurants and the aquarium for entertainment. Or if you want to head inland, the world-famous Dartmoor National Park and the Tamar Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are both just a short drive away. Award-winning director Steven Spielberg spoke of Dartmoor’s incredible landscape after filming War Horse there, naming it one of his favourite places in the world.

It’s not surprising, then, that tourism is a significant contributor to the local economy.


Economy with coins and pound sign


Making up 25% of Devon’s total by itself, Plymouth has a GVA of over £5billion. This makes it the second biggest city in the south-west region. The city’s rich nautical history has long supported the region, partly as an industry itself, and partly as a draw for visitors.

Indeed, tourism makes up a sizable part of the local economy, being worth over £300million to Britain’s Ocean City. And being right on the water, it’s not surprising that Plymouth’s other key industries are maritime and marine-related, with 270 firms in the sectors. Such industries tend to come with generally well-paid and stable jobs.

The Marine Biological Association and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory attract the world’s best and brightest experts to undertake ground-breaking scientific research in the city. Also a centre for ship-building, the city is home to HMNB Devonport, Western Europe’s largest operational naval base and the only one in the UK that refits nuclear submarines. In fact, according to Navy estimates, the Devonport Dockyard generates about 10% of Plymouth’s income.

It is the combination of these strong economic and career prospects with the cultural experiences on offer that is drawing more students and young professionals to the city year after year.


Students and Young Professionals

Students and Young Professionals

Students come to Plymouth for the exciting cultural activities, fun nightlife and, of course, the excellent education. Plymouth is now the fifth largest student city in the UK, with a student population of around 30,000. This is thanks to the high-quality universities and colleges in the city, including the University of Plymouth, the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of St Mark & St John and the Plymouth College of Art. These institutions also employ over 3000 people.

Recently, the 18-24 age group has been growing recently, and the percentage of young people in Plymouth’s population is approximately 4% higher than the UK average. And over the past decade the number of people with degree-level qualifications has risen by more than 16,000. Work-based education is also a significant sector in the city. Plymouth actually has one of the highest proportions of successful apprenticeships in the UK.

It would appear that energetic, intelligent young people are flocking to the city. And they have plenty of modes of transport to get them there.


Transport (Boat, car, and train)


Just because it is tucked down on the south-west coast, it doesn’t mean Plymouth is hard to get to. The A38 connects the city with central England via Exeter and the M5 motorway. Plymouth station also connects the city to much of the rest of the country via the railways. This historic building dates back to 1877, but soon the station will be part of a massive £50million regeneration. £4.7million of funding for this project have come from a recent government scheme aimed at boosting the south-west region.

And then of course, there’s the port. Ferries leave from Plymouth and take passengers to several destinations in France and Spain, meaning taking a mini holiday in the sun is in easy reach.

On the other hand, if you’ve fallen for this historic waterside city (completely understandable), you’re in luck: Plymouth’s housing market is exceedingly promising right now!


Apartment buildings

Housing Market

The overall average house price in Plymouth is £181,804; that is significantly lower than the UK average of £222,484. Average rents are £927 pm, across all property types. This presents a good opportunity for property investors. Properties are affordable to buy, rents offer good returns and the city has a steady stream of young people likely to be looking to rent a property.

The student property sector has the potential to be particularly profitable. There are 7,450 bed spaces currently available or on the way in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), which is substantially lower than the 30,000 students living in the city. In fact, students make up about 10% of the entire population in Plymouth, with the number climbing year-on-year. This makes competition for student accommodation every year rather remarkable. New PBSA developments, such as our Beaumont Square project, aim to meet this exceptionally high demand.

Overall, Plymouth has a lot to offer people who are looking for a breath of quality fresh air – whether in where they are looking to live, work, study or invest.

If you are ready to start your investment journey, and are interested in what this Ocean City could offer you, take a look at our properties in Plymouth.